My story with Ulcerative Colitis
Updated: Nov 5, 2022
I’m a 22-year-old female, and for the last 7 years, I’ve been dealing with the highs and low of Ulcerative colitis (UC). UC is a chronic inflammation of the colon. I have the classic symptoms: bloody diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain etc
However, something that many don’t know is how badly UC affects your mental health. At 15 years old, I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although conditions which are more controlled now; there are moments where I feel like that lost 15-year-old girl. Explaining to people how a bowel condition can affect your mind has been difficult. Many don’t understand the toll it can take on your body. Imagine waking up every day not knowing what size clothing you will be, not knowing if you’ll have a pain free day – it’s a surprise every day. An unwelcome surprise. Nevertheless being 22 and waking up as a size 14 some days and on others as a size 8 is difficult. I see all other girls my age as beautiful thin models… and me? An unattractive diseased human. It took me a while to become comfortable with myself, I still have my off days, but I’m healing my mind slowly.
At school, I was known as the athletic kid; on the netball and swimming team. I was always picked first in sports lessons; I felt unstoppable. My life came crashing down soon after that, and I’m still trying to pick up the pieces. It will take years, maybe my whole life to deal with the emotional trauma of puberty, UC and my declining mental health. But guess what? I AM TRYING. I am here today, yes, I’m not a size 8 - I am a healthy size 12. Every time someone comments on my weight, my response ‘I don’t care; I am healthy’. Well, I try to respond like that, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt my feelings.
It’s always an internal struggle, telling myself that I can’t help being bloated, my colon is damaged; to thinking I’m the ugliest creature on the planet. It’s a back and forth with my own mind. Who knew that the greatest battle in my life would be battling that internal voice?
From this brief insight into my life do not pity me. Take it as a lesson; even the most ordinary looking person may be fighting their hardest battle. Hence, be kind to everyone...please.
On a happier note, I have managed to create my own support system to get me through the lows. You don’t bring positive energy to my life; you eventually will be cut out. Hence why I created the Change Foundation and the idea of the Change Family. We all have our own internal struggle, why are we not talking about it? Why are we not helping each other through it? Anyways from me to you, this is my story.